LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
Perhaps you’ve seen the video of the baby wearing prescription eye glasses for the first time? The bobbing head and teetering balance is expected, but the look of amazement is new. The baby’s jaw drops at first, then a smile emerges as a parent’s face comes into focus for the first time. The face now has a mouth, a nose, and two eyes. The two eyes are blinking away tears of joy. We don’t usually see tears of joy at work, but after hours in front of the whiteboard, it is a relief when a co-worker finally exclaims, “Oh, I see!”
For the eye to see, light must first pass through the protective cornea. Light is then focused precisely by the lens onto the retina. Anyone with myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) knows that corrective lenses improve this precise focal point, bringing things into better focus. Oh, and don’t forget the brain must flip the data received from the optic nerve 180° (thanks to the curvature of the cornea). Eyesight is nothing short of a miracle and maybe that is what we need at the whiteboard, sometimes. As leaders, we must to know if we need:
- More Detail? Our understanding is only as good as our data. If the details aren’t quite clear or require too much interpretation, we tend to make poor decisions or give poor direction. It is important to discern the amount and quality of data needed. Insightful leaders ask for more or better information.
- To Flip? As a leadership coach, I get especially charged when my clients identify a pivot point or a 180° shift. There is new freedom and creativity when something is seen from a totally new angle. Insightful leaders can flip things upside down when necessary.
- A New Lens? Seeing something from someone else’s perspective requires openness and empathy. We don’t have to agree with others, but we can seek to understand. Viewing issues with a different lens gives us a fresh perspective and more compassion. Insightful leaders are curious and can see things from others’ points of view.
- A Different Focus? Sometimes we must completely redirect attention. Groupthink is the “practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.” Groupthink deflates a team in the long run. Though early consensus appears to be productive, eventually new ideas are ignored or avoided. Insightful leaders create a culture of exploration and independent thought.
Approximately six out of ten people need corrective lenses to see more clearly. We can assume our vision at work isn’t 100% either! We are responsible for our own perceptions. At times, we must request more information, flip ideas upside-down, see things from others’ perspective, and completely refocus. Only then, will we see more clearly.
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Bible says about Seeing. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She founded Synergy Groups, virtual masterminds connecting Christians in leadership around the globe for the purpose of Community, Accountability, and Transformation. She also partners with high-performers and heirs-apparent especially in the STEM industries. Michelle’s formal background in technology, franchise, and project management gives her an edge on implementing best practices and scaling towards sustainable success. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.